“Besides good writing and great plot, what I like about it mostly is how DiSilvio integrates the story with historical characters, offering well-researched insight about them and their era. It is a fun read and historical fiction at its best.” --- Truby Chiaviello – Publisher of Primo Magazine
High-Concept Historical Fiction that Works!
This is a high-concept work of historical fiction that offers the reader a great payoff. DiSilvio knows his history and is able to weave real-life characters into a tapestry of political intrigue, murder, spies, and music. The setting alternates between two generations, and the effect is that the reader spirals into a richly fascinating plot. The writing itself is great. DiSilvio has an ear for dramatic prose and is an engaging storyteller. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a part near the end where Angelo learns some valuable information; DiSilvio creates an image of an old man and his pigeons, and it is just so poignant. The book is full of those moments. Recommended if you love history or thrillers. - ELP
"This has been a novel that has moved 'briskly' on, due to its well-developed writing style, even for this non-historian reader. It has been a surprisingly 'fun' read if one keeps in mind that it 'IS' fiction. I spent the extra time I had, on two different days, searching questions this book raised for me, and also in regard to the fictional/some non-fictional activities written about and presented. Quite an excellent achievement for an author to make that kind of 'quest for learning' for a reader far more interested in the sciences and math. Good book. Well written. Please read 'other reviews' and consider reading this genuinely different mystery." — Re, Yucaipa, CA
A TRULY UNIQUE MUST READ
Liszt's Dante Symphony: A Historical Thriller about the Arts & Deceptive Arts is simply a brilliant and unique historical thriller. The prose of Rich DiSilvio perfectly captures both characters and locations- this is a rare read- one that is NOT TO BE MISSED!!" - Rick F, Lake Worth, FL
Liszt's Dante Symphony Is A Winner!
The rich list of characters includes such luminaries as Franz Liszt, Albert Einstein, Richard Wagner, Pope Pius IX, Adolf Hitler and many others. It was fascinating to me to watch these people become living beings. These familiar faces are portrayed along side Angelo DiPurezza Sr. and Jr. and Mildred Krause. These characters are also well written and we get to know them well.
The setting keeps changing from Liszt’s time to Hitler’s time. The locales change accordingly, with the bulk of the scenes taking place in Paris and Berlin. I have always been a fan of Franz Liszt and thought I knew the man from an old movie entitled, “Song Without End,” which was a story about Liszt and Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. Of course I was young when I saw the movie and foolish to think that love was all that Liszt was about. After reading Mr. DiSilvio’s novel, I am even more a fan. I had no idea how far reaching Liszt’s genius went and how he influenced our world.
Mr. DiSilvio has presented us with a great story that begins with Angelo Di Purezza Jr. and Albert Einstein trying to solve the mystery of Angelo Sr. We are quickly brought into the beginning of Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror. The setting is at a concert hall in Berlin and Rich DiSilvio writes the scene as to make you feel that you are sitting near enough to Hitler’s party to overhear their conversations. Mr. DiSilvio’s brilliant writing captured me right away. The world history, musical history and art history lessons we are exposed to in this book are amazingly done and I kept thinking, “If only teachers taught us in this fashion, how much we would learn!” There is also a love story brewing, but that is very minor in this book. Instead, we are treated to Mr. DiSilvio’s philosophies of life. He is truly a gifted author and man. I was glad I bought this book and really loved it. — Marilyn Sultar, NY
An Action Packed Adventure
"Rich DiSilvio sets out on a daunting task to thread an intriguing political mystery through decades of political unrest. His story begins in 1866 with the composer Liszt. Through the use of his very controversial work, The Dante Symphony, the famous composer passes along secrets that help shape the changing face of Europe during the tumultuous years in the latter half of the 1800s. DiSilvio then connects these secrets to a similarly global event... the rise of Hitler and World War II. His work is an action-packed adventure with a very cleverly written scheme. The devices Liszt uses to achieve his ends are both brilliant and believable...
The story moves along wonderfully as it shifts from the intrigue and confusion of Hitler's Germany back in time to the turmoil of the late 1800s. As a historian of both periods (a major field in the 1800s and a minor field in Modern Europe with an emphasis on Germany), I cannot fault the historical accuracy and research that has gone into this novel. The weakness of this novel rests in its characters. While the historical accuracy was excellent, the characters failed in their accuracy. Employing modern dialogue, the characters seemed more at home in a twenty-first century thriller than in the 1800s. Overall, I enjoyed the novel. The action and intrigue kept me entertained and moved the novel forward!" — Alex, Fairmont, WV
Another Masterful Work by today's Dante
"Let me begin by noting that any book whose opening line is “All Hell broke loose!” is surely one to grab my attention. And that is the main virtue of this thoughtful concoction which blends fact with fiction with ample doses of history all tied up in a ribbon provided by one of the great masters of classical music. The book's structure jumps back and forward through time across the decades of European history from the latter third of the nineteenth century up through 1945. The personalities one encounters range from the heroic to the banal, from the brilliant to the most loathsome, and as with any true work of artistic expression the essence of the human character is affirmed but the dark side of that character is also exposed.
Having admired Dore’s illustrations, having read the writings of Hugo, having marveled at Einstein’s theory of relativity, having appreciated the music of Liszt I was now able to place a human face on these distinct figures of genius. Though these are fictional portraits these representations are well grounded in fact. Most telling of all is the depiction of Hitler who truly was a monster of infamous proportions but as well a petty and pathetic excuse of a human being. The ever present question of how a civilized people could be seduced by the rantings of this fanatic remains as a stark warning for our own day and age.
Two generations of European history is brought to life, with all of its achievements and all of its horrors. It is simply astonishing the degree of convulsive change that took place in that period and how it all would tragically come down in the tumult of global war. The inescapable conclusion of DiSilvio's tome seems to be that Western man’s beneficence must walk hand-in-hand with his own self-destructive impulses. Be it wisdom or folly, or more likely the eternal dichotomy between good and evil, in this saga good does triumph ultimately but only after a terrible price has been paid. I once noted that the blood of Dante must run through this author’s veins after reading his historical study "The Winds of Time", and I now believe that my earlier conclusion has been confirmed.
One final note, and that is the wonderful and completely fictional character of Angelo Di Purezza. In a literary and cultural landscape filled with negative portrayals of Italians, be they gangsters from the underworld of organized crime or the wastrels engaging in tactless anti-social behavior on “The Jersey Shore”, Italians are routinely portrayed in the most demeaning and offensive manner imaginable. If your name ends in a vowel, you are at best portrayed as an uneducated low life and at worst you are a criminal or other assorted sociopath. Nothing of course could be further from the truth and nothing can be more refreshing than this portrayal of an Italian hero who is scientist, lover, devoted son, father and hero. I think it is the responsibility of all Italians and Italian-Americans to not only reject the negative stereotypes but equally to affirm the good, the decent, the creative and the virtuous aspects of a culture that dates back more than two thousand years and which has contributed so mightily to America.
This is the book that I enjoyed reading most this past summer, yet in its many virtues it is a book for all seasons and one that takes the genre of historical fiction to a new plain. — Rudy Carmenaty, NY